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Greek Tourism Minister says UK Government's quarantine decision not justified

Britain’s decision to slap a quarantine on people arriving from seven Greek islands was “very unfortunate”, Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis said on Sky News.

Theoharis said that the decision was not warranted by coronavirus data.

“I remind you that 20 cases per 100,000 per population is the self-imposed yardstick of the UK government and we are somewhere between 13 and 14 and going downwards, so this is really unfortunate in our view,” he added.

It is recalled holidaymakers travelling from Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos will have to self-isolate for 14 days after returning from the islands.

The announcement wreaked havoc for British tourists (60,000) on the islands, who are trying to return in time before the new measures take effect and they are required to quarantine.

The minister rejected the claim that the Greek government is hiding data on the actual number of cases. “We have worked very closely with the British Government. In fact, we have increased the number of tests (…) And we are still one of the countries with the lowest coronavirus numbers. In fact, we make strict and difficult decisions in specific areas, where we see a concentration of cases, defying the economic consequences. Our priority is the safety of our citizens and our visitors.”

Theoharis also assured that they have the system to control the situation, despite the expected increase number of cases. “I believe that from the beginning, the return to normalcy, the gradual opening of the borders, was a European undertaking. We would all like to see carefully, safely, the gradual opening of our economies and our lives. We have heard this request from the people and we are trying to provide the necessary infrastructure to do so. Of course, we have implemented specific arrangements for different countries, based on epidemiological data. I can not say that this will not include the United Kingdom at some point in the future. In the meantime, however, we welcome visitors from the United Kingdom.”

Following the British government’s decision, TUI and Jet2 cancelled travel packages from Britain to Crete, Zakynthos, Santorini and Mykonos.

According to Protothema, TUI cancelled trips until September 22 and Jet2 until September 20. Both travel companies invite their affected customers to change their bookings or request a refund.

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